SPIRITUAL LIFE WITHOUT TEACHERS OR GURUS
Spiritual life without teachers or gurus
is like universities without professors,
hospitals without doctors and nurses,
or planes without pilots.
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
GURU PURNIMA 2006:
Guru Purnima is an annual celebration of the divine force called
guru. It is on the full moon of July. In the Americas this is on July
10, 2006. In Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, this is on July 11,
Here are the precise times of the full moon:
8:01 pm PDST (US), July 10
9:01 pm MDST (US), July 10
10:01 pm CDST (US), July 10
11:01 pm EDST( US), July 10
3:01 am UTC/GMT, July 11
8:31 am IST (India), July 11
SEE ALSO these TWO articles on GURU:
GURU AND THE LIGHT WITHIN:
EXCERPTS from this article:
If you prepare yourself to know the higher knowledge, then you will
deserve. To deserve means to increase your capacity. You want to put
the entire ocean in a bucket. The ocean is there. You can have it,
but you do not have the capacity. When you deserve, you will have the
capacity. The Lord, the Reality, the Truth, is always within you. You
simply have to become aware. You can make sincere efforts to work
Don't be disappointed with failures. When you start to make sincere
efforts and start to practice, you will find light on the path. The
light itself will guide you. The light of consciousness is within
you. If you ignore that light, the guide outside you, the external
teacher, will be of no use to you. He will make you a slave. Every
individual has certain notions. He also lives with his notions. He
creates a following and millions of people are swayed and misguided.
Do you know what a guide means? The word guru has been vulgarized.
Such a pious word is being misused. I call it guide. Do not depend
much on guides. It is better for you to prepare yourself and remain
awake. The scriptures say to wake up from the deep sleep of
ignorance. Remain fully awake, remain conscious, and go on learning.
Never close the door of learning. The day you close the door of
learning you become ego, ego, ego....
The word teacher means "knowledge." The knowledge should be followed,
not the individual personality of the teacher. The subject should be
given prime importance, not the individual. Teachers have complicated
things. Yoga science has suffered because of this. One teacher
says, "This is my method." Another teacher says, "This is my method."
The poor student is confused. After some time he finds that his mind,
his individuality, and his pocket have been robbed.
When you become aware of the light within, and that light reveals the
Truth to you, there are no chances of being misguided. Teachers come
and go. From your external teacher just pick up that which is useful
for you and leave that which is not useful. No doubt you need a
teacher, a guide. I will never tell you that you should not seek and
you should not learn from other people, or that you should not study
books. Teachers only inspire you and make you aware of that Self-
existence that you have forgotten. Their role is to make you aware of
Yoga science tells you to go to the inner levels of your being and be
guided by the light that is already within you, that leads you in the
darkness. If you understand the light within, when you are introduced
to that light, you will not crave for any outer guidance. Learn to
make your abode in darkness so that you can see the light, but not
the superficial light. Superficial light creates problems for you and
does not allow you to see the light within.
When you start treading the path you will never find any difficulty,
for the light is already within you. The light within you is coming
out. When I look at your faces I find that they are different because
of the light that has the power of discrimination. That light can
correctly judge and understand and know. That light is higher than
any other light of the sun, the moon, and the stars. That is why
human beings are superior to all these lights that you see outside
In the light of the sun, in the light of the moon, and in the light
of the stars there is no discrimination. The light within you has the
power of discrimination. You can use that light to see the darkest
corners of your inner chamber. For that you do not need outer
guidance. The purpose of a guide, guru, or teacher is to introduce
you to that light.
GURU AND DIVINE GRACE:
EXCERPTS from this article:
In the effort to understand life and approach death meaningfully,
vairagya [non-attachment] and abhyasa [practices] are the
responsibility of the seeker. When these two are truly undertaken,
another help follows. That help comes in the form of guru and grace,
each linked to the other, each so beautiful and comforting, each so
The word guru is a compound of two words, gu and ru. Gu means
darkness and ru means light. That which dispels the darkness of
ignorance is called guru. The energy and action of removing darkness
are guru. Guru is not a person, it is a force driven by grace.
To put this another way, there is an intelligent momentum that
pervades the universe that is moving all human beings toward the
perfection we call God. Guru is that intelligence. Everyone's
receptivity to that intelligence varies. It depends on preparation,
which includes the development of vairagya or nonattachment, and
abhyasa or practice. In other words, guru is always there, but the
student may not be ready to receive what the guru has to offer. When
the student is prepared, the guru always arrives to help the student
do what is necessary to progress in removing the veil of ignorance.
It is said that when the wick and oil are properly prepared, the
master lights the lamp.
Guru is not a person, but guru can be represented in a person. One
who has developed his or her own spiritual awareness to a very high
level can guide others, and is considered to be guru. Only one who is
finely attuned to the inner guide can inspire the awakening of the
inner guide in another. Guru is not a physical being. If a guru
begins thinking this power is her or his own, then they are no longer
a guide. The guru is a tradition, a stream of knowledge....
No human being can ever become a guru. Guru is not a human
experience, or, better said, guru is not a sensory experience. It is
a divine experience to be a guru. A human being allows herself or
himself to be used as a channel for receiving and transmitting by the
power of powers. Then it happens. Then guru manifests. To do that, a
human being must learn to be selfless, must learn to love. Real love
expects nothing. That is how genuine gurus live. Selfless love is the
basis of their enlightenment, and the basis of their roles as
channels of knowledge.
Guru is not the goal. Anyone who establishes himself as a guru to be
worshipped, is not a guru. Christ, Buddha, and other great persons
did not set up any such example. Guru is like a boat for crossing the
river. It is important to have a good boat and it is very dangerous
to have a boat that is leaking. The boat brings you across the river.
When the river is crossed the boat is no longer necessary. You don't
hang onto the boat after completing the journey, and you certainly
don't worship the boat....
The spiritual seeker should not worry about who the guru is, or what
the guru will do. The seeker's first concern is getting prepared,
organizing her or his life and thoughts in a spiritually healthy way,
and then working toward a way of life that simplifies and purifies.
At the right time the master will be there....
The guru also teaches without words or actions. As the disciple
learns to surrender and move the ego out of the way, and grows more
selfless, the ability to learn intuitively from the guru grows. The
student learns in the cave of silence. It is like tuning into the
guru's frequency or plugging into that stream of knowledge. The guru
is always working from there. The disciple's role is to gradually
learn to also work from that place. The disciple learns this by doing
all duties with love, by being nonattached, and by surrendering. The
disciple should always be striving to purify and prepare for more and
greater knowledge. Then God will say, "I want to enter this living
temple that you are." Remove the impurities and you will find that
the one who wants to know reality is the source of reality.
There is also the activity of grace. Grace is the impulse or the
impetus of the energy to dispel darkness. There is the grace of the
scriptures, from the wisdom that has passed down from others. There
is the grace of the teacher, who imparts that wisdom and helps bring
it to life in the student. There is the grace of God, or pure
consciousness, that is alive and ever present in everyone's life.
Integral to these three graces is the grace of oneself, having the
will to undertake a purposeful journey in life, to do the spiritual
work of life, and to prepare oneself.
How do we get this grace? It comes of its own when a seeker has made
maximum effort. When all efforts have been made, and all efforts have
been exhausted, then grace comes.
A Sanskrit word for grace is shaktipata. Shakti means energy, and
pata means bestowing. Shaktipata means "bestowing the energy" or
lighting the lamp. Sometimes shaktipata is translated as "descent of
power." A power comes from above, of its own, to a vessel that is
cleaned, purified, and is prepared to receive it. When the
instructions from the guru have been completed, the seeker has become
strong in selflessness and surrender, and the samskaras have been
burned, grace comes....
Grace is only possible with a disciple who has gone through a long
period of discipline, austerity, and spiritual practices. When a
student has done these practices and followed the teacher's
instructions with all faithfulness, truthfulness, and sincerity, then
the subtlest obstacle is removed by the master. The experience of
enlightenment comes from the sincere effort of both master and
disciple. When you have done your duties skillfully and
wholeheartedly, you reap the fruits gracefully. Grace dawns when
action ends. Shaktipata is the grace of God transmitted through the
Guru is the disciple's guide through life, through the mysterious
terrain of the spiritual heart, and into and beyond the realm of